CHENNAI: Expressing concern over the "alarmingly" increasing frequencies of arrests of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking Centre's immediate intervention to resolve the issue.
Colombo's "inhumane and cruel strategy" of not releasing the boats of Indian fishermen was causing great loss of livelihood to them and their families", she said in her letter.
Jayalalithaa also took exception to the reported remarks of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on the issue of release of boats held by the Lankan navy.
"It is particularly distressing that a senior member of the BJP Dr Subramanian Swamy has in a televised media interview on September one stated that it was he who had advised the Sri Lankan government not to release the boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen", she said.
This statement of Swamy had given rise to resentment and angst among the people of Tamil Nadu, including the fishermen community, she said.
"I am confident that these are not the official views of your party or the Government of India", she said.
Referring to arrests of 15 Indian fishermen on September one and two, Jayalalithaa said a total of 319 fishermen had been arrested and barring 15 all had been released due to the effort of his Government, she told Modi.
She said 62 fishing boats continued to be in Lankan custody and recalled that her government had raised the issue during the August 29 meeting of India-Sri Lanka joint committee on fisheries in New Delhi.
The Chief Minister said she was confident that the Centre would find suitable mechanisms to resolve the fishing disputes between Tamil Naud and Sri Lanka by retrieving Katchathivu and restoring the traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen in the Palk Straits.
"Alarmingly increasing frequencies of apprehension of our fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy is a matter of utmost concern for my government. An immediate intervention at the highest level is sought to resolve this long standing issue, she said while urging Modi to ensure the release of 15 fishermen and 62 boats.